Why Would A Good God Allow Suffering?

The questions are still being asked. “Does God hate me? Is this why He is allowing me to suffer like this? Why me and not others?” (Find out more and download the booklet in .pdf format from RBC)

I woke up, flipped through the pages about the tragedy of the 11 people who died in the accident and only realise the magnitude of the accident. We had been told about the matter yesterday morning by our parish priest Father F.A. It leaves a chill in us as our choir member’s Albert also is just recovering from the hit and run accident recently. Albert is half paralysed and we were talking in sombre tone over Albert’s situation when another one struck us. These are all senseless tragedies, happenning to innocent people and what more a group of people going on their annual pilgrimage.

Tragic trip for 47 pilgrims

NIBONG TEBAL: Eleven pilgrims to the annual St Anne’s Feast were killed when the chartered bus they were in rolled over twice at the 160.8 kilometre of the North-South Expressway near here before landing upside down in a ditch.

The dead include six women, an 11-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl.

The fact that two tragedies had happened related to St. Anne’s feast is enough to get some skeptics talking. Why not? People will be thinking out loud with things like, “Why so suey wan…why God never protect them wan….Why so ngam wan..” Well, one can’t help but question God in this way.

But if you are in Christ, faithful to the God, you will not see sufferings as a punishment from God. Actually, I learnt to see things this way long before I know Christ. I cope this way looking at the Muslims parents coping with their own tragedies. Many of these Muslims parents had heart to heart talk with me over the period of time when we were battling with the impending death of our respective children. It is not about Islam but rather how they manage to remain calm and strong (sabar dan tabah) despite of anything because they leave their lives to Allah. Kita sekadar merancang, Allah yang menentukan.

And if you trust in God, see and believe Christ’s sufferings on earth as Son of Man, you will feel that your pain lessens because you know you have an understanding God. When you see Michaelangelo creation of The Pieta, that is enough to tell you that yes, people suffers all the time. Mother Mary cradling the body of Jesus leaves a very profound feelings, not very different from the fireman who carries the 13 years old girl, with this father in agony besides her, isn’t it?

The above .pdf booklet was given to me by a total stranger. She gave me the printed copy after I lost my son. I also read through Phillip Yancey and Zig Ziglar (on his daughter’s death) books and don’t see tragedies as punishment from God or God wasn’t paying attention and hence, it happens. I see it as crosses we have to carry in our lives. Some have bigger crosses, some smaller. To the non-Christians, crosses here refer to burdens and hardships we have to go through lives. Each of us have a cross to carry. Those of who have bigger ones are because they are made stronger. 🙂

One of the photo on the papers brought tears to my eyes. It is a picture of Father Stephen by the bedside of the injured boy. Father Stephen was formerly from my church and he had helped answer many of my rebellious questions on ‘Where is God’ in the smartest way ever. I guess he must be feeling awful over the tragedies because it is related to his church. I hope the families who cannot comprehend the tragedy will look for Father Stephen and listen to his wisdoms.

To the Catholic families who lost their loved ones, I pray that they will turn to Christ for strength and find comfort in Him. I call on St. Anne and the Virgin Mary to run to the shelter them from the pain of losing their loved ones, especially their children.

To the non-Catholics who perished, may God have mercy on your souls and bring you to His Heavenly Kingdom for the faith that you had shown in your lifetime for St. Anne and Christ. For the families, may you all find the reasonings you so much needed and find Christ in the process.

20 Replies to “Why Would A Good God Allow Suffering?”

  1. I was down with flu for the weekend. Nasty nasty flu. When I browsed the news this morning, I was horrified to read about the accident. My deepest condolence to those who lost their loved ones. I can never comprehend how they felt at the moment but I’m afraid all I can say to them is “sorry for your loss..”

  2. helen – I hope they find someone/something to nail the blame on ‘cos this is just too tragic. Did you read the way our good ole’ rambut palsu min. said? “See? I told you all already, you all never listen to me?” Re the number of years of a bus driver. BTW, after I published this post, I only notice the verse of the day, I hope people find comfort in that. *points to Biblegateway on the main page sidebar)

  3. May God shower His mercy on those who perished, and strength to those left with a great loss to burden…

    It’s always sad to hear bad things happen to good people, ain’t it? But He works in mysterious ways, and sometimes acceptance is the best way forward to deal with such tragedies…

    PEACE!

  4. Amen. I can feel for the family especially knowing that they are in fact on a pilgrimage. But as we always say in ‘Our Father’ – ‘Your Will be done’. The Lord must have His reasons. I hope they find strength in the Lord to pull through these difficult times.

  5. dowan to sound cruel or inhumane, but i think i have becomed inmmune to these knid of news. whenever i read anything like that, the most i can do is shake my head and go to the next page.

  6. Thinking about this, I reflect that as we walk in this empty world filled with greed, pride, distrust, disharmony, pain and suffering, we ask ourselves Why Lord? Why God? Why the pain, why the suffering, why the death. It is not easy to talk about suffering, it is not easy to talk to someone who is suffering. It may not even the right thing to do.

    Silence may be more appropriate.
    But it dawned upon me, to understand suffering, we need to understand ourselves.
    I searched within myself, in order to understand the suffering and I realised that I had a lot of my fair share of suffering and am still suffering to this very day, but I see the light in the distance and the hope in God. But why? Why does he makes us suffer? Why does God, whom I serve, does not reach out his hand when I need him? Why didn’t he help me? Why did he let……..
    Let us each of us think of our own suffering, our own trouble our own paralysis, our own story.

    What am I doing here?
    What am I doing with this crutch?
    Why can’t I sleep at night?
    Why am I alone? What’s wrong with just wanting to get married? And now, there’s no hope?
    Why can’t I draw just one easy breath of air?
    Why are children dying around us?
    Is someone else to blame for all this?
    Or worse, is it because I am so disordered inside?
    Why were pilgrims killed in this accident?
    And then, why does God, this so called God, permit this things to happen?
    Why doesn’t he step in time?
    Why did he just stand and watch?

    Why didn’t he make Herod die before he could carry out the slaughter in Bethlehem because Jesus was a thorn in his side?
    Why did he step in and stop that storm blowing my hut away where I lived on the shore as a poor fisherman, as poor as Jesus himself?

    Does this GOD exist or not?

    Well, if he does, why doesn’t he act? Why doesn’t he make an exception for me?

    I can only say that God allows all this to happen and to transform each problem into grace. You might say I am nuts, but read on and eventually, I pray you may understand what I am saying.

    St. Augustine says “God permits evil, so as to transform it into a greater good.”
    God loves his children, and when he sees that someone or something has hurt them, what imagination he has – to transform the evil into good, the inactivity into contemplation, the cry of pain into a prayer, grief into the act of love!
    I know I’m only a child, telling you all this things. Yet, smart people don’t tell you this things, because they are to embarrassed.
    Well, I am going right out to tell you.
    I have found no other answer to sufferings.
    In my experience, the wounds of sufferings produce a very precious, very sweet honey.
    Its the honey of the Beatitudes proclaimed by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

    I have tasted this honey and have become convinced of the rationality of the Gospel, of the reasons for so many mysterious things.
    I have been convinced by experience.
    I am not going to reason with you, I am going to speak to you from reason.
    I have come to believe in God from reason and experience and I say, I believe in God because I know him. And I know him from Suffering.

    There is still plenty of room for mystery and it is right that this should be so, to educate us in humility, which is so important in our relationship with the Absolute that is god.

    But the thickest cloak that weighed on my misery and my blindness God has torn away, and the nakedness of my wounded flesh has helped me to recognise, out beyond the veil of mystery, the nakedness of God.

    Only then, startled by joy, did I know the truth, that the encounter with him the Eternal is possible. And that is stupendous.

    I want to try to tell you something about suffering and about death. but I don’t want to make a fool of myself. I know what is means to talk to the suffering and I know too that God alone, and Christ who died for us, are worthy ‘to break the seals’ of the book of life (Rev. 5:2-5)
    It will be the babbling of a baby, this babbling of mine, as I try to read a mystery in faith and hope rather than in wisdom and culture.
    It will be the undertaking of someone who has had the great joy of believing in the Father, of knowing his Son Jesus, and of hearing the voice of the Spirit that comes like the wind pounding on the doors of Jerusalem, and of your soul, crying with boundless gladness, I am here!

    I am here, to be with you, I am here, to walk with you, I am here to love you….

    I can only stop talking, sit down beside you and with no right but that of someone who has suffered a little, like you, I say: The luckiest thing that ever happened to me in my life was getting to know God.
    Yes, I honestly mean it. I tell you this in the Spirit: I know God. I’ve begun to get to know him.
    In fact – as I always tell my friends – I believe in God because I know him.

    Try and follow my line of reasoning for the a moment. Grit your teeth if you are in pain, yawn if you are bored and sorry ah aunty for taking up your comment space, but listen to what I am going to write.
    As long as I have known God, I have never known him to let me down. I know that he cannot deceive me. This is my strength. Knowledge of him has led me to trust in him. I have this experience within me; nothing can abolish it.
    I trust in Him.
    I trust in Him even when my faith is put to the test and I understand nothing. I trust in him even when my horizon is dark, arid and painful.
    I may say that this confidence is the outcome of the pains in my life. I no longer remember what being a religious means. I no longer remember whether I am sinful or virtuous. I am no longer interested in such things.
    One thing, though, I do remember: that I can trust myself to him. I know that he is not the kind to make fun of me. I know that he is faithful.
    Yes, He is Faithful.
    Now if he is faithful, he will explain to me the things at present I cannot grasp. He will explain the reason for suffering, the reason for death, the reason for evil.
    A parent does not desert a child.
    A friend does not betray a friend.
    And he is both my father and my friend.
    I tell you this from experience. I am not telling you this only in faith, which is one of his gifts. I am telling you from experience, which is our acquisition, the outcome of our life’s journey.
    I cannot understand always why he does this or do that. But I know from experience that he does well and for a reason known only to him.
    I trust him.
    And if there’s pain in the world, I know from experience that he knows there is, and knows how to transform it into light, freedom and bliss.

    Yes, into bliss. It may seem quite a task! If not downright ridiculous!
    How can you that those who weep are blessed?
    And yet blessed is what he called them.
    Read the Beatitudes. Now go ahead and say it, he won’t be offended: These are the words of a madman, or else of someone holding something back.
    I would say, both. He is mad, but mad with love.
    And as far as holding something back is concerned I can have no doubt of that.

    He conceals things.
    He conceals things until he is read but we cannot bear them; more especially, he conceals them to ask us for the only things he cannot otherwise get: love and trust.
    He is in love with the trust that we can repose in him.
    Nothing gives him greater joy than that act of trust which makes possible the loving relationship he years to establish with us. This is the greatest gift that we as creatures can give him.

    There is no greater act of love than of letting go in the dark and falling into the arms of our lovers with total abandonment; offering all for love.
    Read and reflect what Father de Foucauld said in the desert.
    He really understood.

    Father,
    I abandon myself into you hands;
    Do with me what you will.
    Whatever you may do, I thank you:
    I am ready for all, I accept all.
    Let only your will be done in me,
    And in all your creatures.
    I wish no more than this, O Lord.
    Into your hands I commend my soul;
    I offer it to you all the love of my heart,
    To surrender myself into your hands, without reserve,
    And with boundless confidence,
    For you are my Father.

    That is how to pray when you are suffering. That is how to believe in God.

    So, why God allows them to suffer? Why God allows us to suffer? It is for us to get to know Him Better. Eternal Rest O Lord Grant to all who perish and May Eternal Light Shine Upone them, May the Rest In Peace. Amen

    (sooooorrrryyy for this long comment..got really really carried away and I hope I am making sense..if not STP can always accuse me for being long winded and talking non-sense)

  7. Aunty: You are very much welcome to delete the above comment if you wish…should have emailed it to you instead or writting it in the comment box. Anyway, bottom line, we suffer and we see suffering and we asked God, why you let us suffer and why are we suffering, but have we ever heard God complaining about his pain and sorrow to see, us, His creation hurting him and causing him pain? Did we ever see God complain when he allowed His only Son to die on the cross for us? Let that be the thought in our mind as we pray for all who are suffering and for those who died.

  8. QV- Never mind, I charge you 10 sen per words, I very rich already. Hahaha. No lah, its ok ‘cos I am one of those who look at the big picture. We can’t allow ourselves to get caught in the pain for the moment and be blinded to the whole life.

    ahpek – Me too. See people die by the thousands and etc until also numb liao. That’s why when I see Father Stephen’s face, only I can feel ‘cos he is the guy who kong yeh sou and give me reasons I can digest when I asked him all these questions about death and dying.

    RyeUrn – We shall pray that the families involved will get closer to God and look forward to the day of reuniting with their loved ones instead of living a bitter lives.

    WMD – The community has come together to offer comfort for them and I hope it gives them the courage to shoulder on. That’s the beauty of belonging to a church ya? The community spirit prevails.

    walski69 – Ya, I suppose it is the order of the world. If we keep reminding ourselves that this is earth and there is a Heaven waiting for us.

  9. i never watch local news on TV2 for like 10 years. yesterday i ter-press it on the astro remote and they were showing the accident.

    something about seeing the bomba pulling dead bodies out of the wreckage is disconcerting.

    And the horrifying thing is that these people were going to st. annes.

    remember many years ago the jetty collapsed?

  10. i had shivers down my spine when i was reading the papers. it was heart wrenching to see that poor girl, sitting with her head down, not knowing what had happen. [read NST] but i found it so weird lar, driving at 80 km/h can accident until so teruk? – i’m waiting to read what the investigations reveal.

  11. Your “vale of tears” and suffering are not thrust upon you by God, or by an outside agency. They are by-products of the learning process, created by you; in them they are quite neutral.

    Your sufferings are the results of the misdirection of creative energy. Suffering is not good for the soul unless it teaches you how to not suffer.

    If the sorrows and agonies within your system were not felt as real, the lessons would not be learned.

  12. Zzzzz (Snoring aloud)! Huh? What? Oh, that long sermon already over kah! Gee!! Who needs lullabies??? Anyway, Lilian. I got an sms last night and was shocked to learn that a friend has died in a car accident. Was supposed to attend this meeting that I’ll be going to later this week in Kuching. So sad…but God has His plans for each of us and we can only accept – good or bad! Blessed are those who suffer now, theirs shalt be the Kingdom of God!

  13. wuching – I echo you.

    STP – Wow, you know the Beatitudes better than me. And I thot you only only BADtitudes. LOL. But so true, we are just parts of a bigger picture. Even Lord Buddha says, To live is to suffer.

    refus – Very deep your comment.

    Yvy – Ya, they have the pics of the funeral in the papers today, equally sad.

    simon – It takes a while for us to figure out the whys but I guess once we learnt to accept, it makes living a lot easier.

  14. STP – We just need to see the light….Hahaha. Father STP! So when you want to embrace celibacy and join a monastery?

    Hijackqueen – Yes, my #4. There is a link by my sidebar.

  15. Me embrace celibacy?? Should be quite soon. At my age, will come naturally…!! Ha ha ha! Monastery? Dunno but with my bald patch on top…I certainly look like one already! Ha ha ha!

  16. Thank you for this post.. you seem to have answered the questions in people’s mind.. Why this, why now, why on such an occasion.

    Gosh, I really feel sorry for those who actually took the trouble to drive all the way to attend the feast day, and then struck with this. Hope they rest in peace, and their families be strong.

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